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Galt Mile Beaches Reopen Tuesday, May 26

UPDATE:  Effective June 1, use of the Galt Mile beaches will be expanded to allow picnicking, sunbathing, sitting, or lying on the beach, as well as the use of umbrellas, canopies, chairs, loungers and coolers. The original restrictions were in place to keep people moving on the beach and prevent overcrowding.  The restrictions still include no group gatherings or events of more than 10 people and no group or organized sports, like volleyball. County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-14 on Friday, May 29, which further addresses Phase 1 reopening guidelines to slightly expand beach activities as described above.

County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-13 on Friday, May 22, which extends Phase 1 reopening guidelines to beaches, commercial gyms and commercial fitness centers, hotels and other commercial lodging, with restrictions, effective Tuesday, May 26.

Pio Ieraci

The Galt Mile Community Association, under the leadership of President Pio Ieraci, has been working directly with County Commissioner Lamar Fisher on getting our Galt Mile beaches reopened, but doing so in a safe manner.  “We appreciate all the efforts and support from Commissioner Fisher in achieving this goal – and we are excited to be able to return to our beautiful Galt beaches – even with the restrictions placed on their use at this time” stated Pio Ieraci.  All residents and associations are strongly urged to abide

County Comm. Lamar Fisher

by these guidelines to protect our fellow residents and not place our beaches in jeopardy of being closed due to flagrant violations.

 

 

Highlights of the new order include:

Beaches Open:  All beaches can open with limited hours (sunrise to sunset). Ocean activities such as surfing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and body surfing are allowed; also walking, running and biking.

Beach Restrictions for Now:  Like other communities across the country, Broward beaches are not yet open for picnicking, sunbathing, sitting or lying on the beach. Group or organized sports (such as volleyball), umbrellas, canopies, chairs, loungers and coolers are also not yet allowed, and no group gatherings of more than 10 people. Beachgoers must maintain social distancing (six feet of separation), except between members of the same household or groups.

Vacation Rentals:  Vacation rentals are open, but only for essential lodgers, as authorized by the Governor’s Executive Order 20-87.

Enforcement is critical to the success of the reopening strategy, to ensure that a spike in new cases does not occur, which could result in another complete or partial shutdown. County and Health Department officials are monitoring benchmarks that will help identify the emergence of “hotspots” that can be quickly mitigated.

Law enforcement and code enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce the requirements of the Emergency Order. Failure to comply can result in civil or criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment or both. Residents can also report violations anonymously online at MyBroward.Broward.org, or by calling the Broward County Call Center at 311 or 954-831-4000.

These re-openings are in addition to those outlined in Emergency Order 20-12 issued May 21. Because COVID-19, however, remains a serious threat to public safety, the social distancing, facial covering and sanitation requirements remain in place for businesses that reopen, and the individuals who patronize them.

Broward County has been under a Local State of Emergency since March 10. For the latest updates, visit FloridaHealth.gov, email COVID-19@flhealth.gov or call the COVID Call Center at 954-357-9500. To learn what Broward County is doing to keep our community safe, visit Broward.org/Coronavirus.


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Coronavirus Mandates

Over the past few months, our perception of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolved from an unsettling rumor into a worldwide survival campaign. While researchers struggle to develop a cure or a vaccine, containment measures are being implemented across the planet. State, County and City administrations are enacting CDC preventive guidelines that sharply limit the opportunity for casual human contact, and deter the overlap of our respective “three to six-foot breathing zones” (as per the World Health Organization), thereby limiting exposure to potentially infected airborne droplets expelled by coughing, spitting or sneezing. Other emergency measures facilitate medical care, required or voluntary quarantine, economic relief, stay-at-home socialization alternatives, access to food, pharmaceuticals and essential supplies and services.

Governor Ron DeSantis

Specifically, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is issuing Executive Orders. Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry is releasing countywide Emergency Declarations and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis is mandating municipal Emergency regulations. Galt Mile co-ops and condominiums are also crafting association-specific rules that regulate contact among residents, employees, visitors and vendors along with access to resources. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR), which enforces Statutory provisions applicable to cooperative, condominium and homeowner associations, is issuing emergency orders that postpone regulatory deadlines for association boards, enable alternative governance protocols, and empower the naming of stand-ins to exercise the responsibilities of out-of-residence association officials.

Public officials serving local communities, such as the Galt Mile, are distributing constituent updates about these regulations and how they impact residents and businesses. A steady stream of newsletters and COVID-19 messages are being sent to Galt Mile residents and merchants by District 93 Statehouse Representative Chip LaMarca, District 4 Broward Commissioner Lamar Fisher and District 1 Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Heather Moraitis. Since the content in these State, County and City emergency regulations is often overheard while passing from person to person, it is subject to the mischaracterizations and distortions of pool talk, muddying the facts for many local residents. To help dispel needless concerns about skewed information, and clarify how these official mandates change our lives, links to each order or declaration (including recovery measures) are segregated by jurisdiction and listed in an attached document.

Phasing in COVID-19 Recovery

On April 19, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the creation of a Re-Open Florida Task Force to carefully revive specific economic and social interactions – hopefully without triggering the need for a second statewide COVID-19 shut down. On April 30, the Task Force released its Final Report, defining a multi-phase approach to reopening jurisdictions based on infection rates, testing capabilities, the burden on local medical services and other CDC criteria.

State and local officials are faced with a terrible choice – a possible spike in the death toll from relaxed containment OR increasing poverty, unemployment and economic deterioration. Like the popular deli TooJay’s, many local merchants have filed for bankruptcy, leaving thousands unemployed. Officials must cautiously relax restrictions since inadvertently boosting the infection rate could extend the pandemic.

Excluding Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties due to their higher late April infection rate statistics, DeSantis approved Phase 1 for Florida’s 64 other counties on May 4, allowing masked customers observing social distancing guidelines to enter restaurants and retail shops, but only at 25% capacity and if dining tables at outdoor venues were separated by at least 6 feet.

Opening South Florida Counties

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis

Still in Phase 0, on April 29, 2020, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-08, conditionally re-opening certain non-essential amenities in Broward County subject to CDC protective guidelines (social distancing, facial coverings, etc.). The order applies to certain parks, natural areas, boat ramps, marinas, golf courses and common area pool facilities serving multi-family homes – such as condominiums. Later that day, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis followed suit, specifying which of the amenities named by Henry would initially be re-opened in the City.

Although still barred by the State from re-opening any beaches, the Broward order was prompted by improving medical statistics deemed relevant by the CDC (i.e. the rate of new infections dropped below 10%, declining impact on area hospitals, etc.) Henry’s order identifies those exempt from the facial covering requirement (Section 7), including children under the age of two, persons who otherwise have difficulty breathing, food service employees (when wearing a mask could pose a hazard), first responders whose personal protective equipment (PPE) is determined by their respective agencies, and those raising a religious objection.

Having crafted an incremental list of stringent safety measures, the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) relentlessly pressured State, County and City officials to safely re-open the neighborhood’s private beach. Hastening local recovery would require strict adherence to CDC containment protocols in beachfront associations. With the exception of a few self-absorbed morons, the Galt Mile community has been a model of compliance.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci

At a May 4 GMCA ZOOM video conference, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis, District 4 County Commissioner Lamar Fisher and Statehouse Representative Chip LaMarca reviewed methodologies with officials from member associations to facilitate beach access and secure Phase 1 status in South Florida.

On May 8, although newly released Broward Emergency Order 20-09 still restricted beach access, the Governor announced that Palm Beach County could move into Phase 1 on May 11 (Executive Order 2020-120), and the Palm Beach County Commission voted to open their beaches on May 18. Citing the positive COVID-19 trending in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, DeSantis said “Our target for them, we’d like to see them move into Phase 1 on May 18.”

In daily contact, County Commissioner Lamar Fisher continually updated GMCA President Pio Ieraci about his struggle to include a specific date for beach access in the next Broward Emergency Order, which would either reflect or possibly expedite the Governor’s anticipated May 18 Phase 1 approval in Broward. We’d soon be able to walk on the beach, shop in stores, eat in a restaurant or finally get a haircut. When DeSantis signed Executive Order #2020-122 on May 14, approving Phase 1 in Broward on May 18, the County immediately issued Emergency Order 20-10, enabling the limited re-opening of restaurants, retail shops, personal services, gyms, salons, movie theaters, community rooms and recreational amenities in multifamily housing developments (condos and co-ops), museums, public community pools, private club pools, and other services and amenities.

At a discrete May 14 meeting, a group of mayors and commissioners from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties explored impending Phase 1 impacts. Officials representing the three South Florida counties had previously agreed to re-open simultaneously to bar the prospect of customers in restricted counties flocking to merchants in a neighboring county that re-opened earlier. When Palm Beach County officials engineered a Gubernatorial approval of Phase 1 on May 11, a week before Miami-Dade and Broward would earn Phase 1 status on May 18, they trashed that agreement, and provided Palm Beach merchants with a week-long clear field to usurp revenues that would ordinarily support businesses in Broward and Miami-Dade. Officials at the meeting observed how this inequitable disparity further burdened businesses desperately struggling to survive the COVID-19 shutdown.

To offset the fact that neither Broward nor Miami-Dade had met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide criteria for a Phase 1 reopening on May 18 (two weeks of declining deaths and new cases), officials at the meeting agreed to increase COVID-19 testing and continue the strict enforcement of CDC requirements for facial coverings, disinfection, and social distancing. In addressing beach access, officials feared that if crowds drawn by Memorial Day weekend sales and events (May 23 – May 25) also packed newly opened beaches, the infection rate could explode. As such, Broward officials decided to delay re-opening the beaches until after the holiday weekend – on May 26.

BEACHES REOPEN MAY 26

To diminish the prospect of a second lockdown by ensuring compliance with CDC safety protocols, Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-12 on May 21, specifying strict enforcement of Phase 1 limitations on each re-opened venue. Under pressure to round out Phase 1, Henry released Emergency Order 20-13 on May 22, which finally sanctioned the May 26 re-opening of Broward beaches, along with Commercial Gyms and Fitness Centers, Hotels, Motels and other Commercial Lodging Establishments.

Beginning on May 26, Broward beaches will be open from sunrise to sunset for swimming, surfing, walking, running, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding and body surfing. While barred from using umbrellas, canopies, chairs, loungers, or coolers, beachgoers are also prohibited from picnicking, playing sports, sunbathing, sitting, lying down or gathering in a group of more than 10 people. Except for members of the same household or group, people must be separated by a minimum of six feet (6’). After flooding our beaches, thousands of visitors from Miami-Dade, where the beaches weren’t approved for re-opening until June 1 – will likely compete for sharply limited restaurant seating.

Given the 50% maximum occupancy restriction on nonessential retail venues, merchants desperate to salvage their livelihoods must decide if revenues from a truncated customer base will cover the cost of fully staffed Restaurants and Retail shops. Some vendors will keep their doors closed until Phase 2 relief improves prospects for a sustainable cost/benefit while others will justify financing initial shortfalls to expedite a return to solvency.

In short, since the City and County recovery plans grossly compromised CDC protective guidelines in order to restart the economy, Broward residents seeking to avoid a second containment order – or simply survive the pandemic – are facing a series of judgement calls about whether destination sites are survivable or prelude to a dirt nap. If cutting the unemployment rate doesn’t significantly increase the Medical Examiner’s workload, we’re out of the woods. If it does, we could once again confront the mysteries of Grubhub, FaceTime, ZOOM Video Conferencing and a long-term home-bound lockdown.

Of course, given that research into this virus is still in its infancy, largely experimental recovery measures have fueled a passionate nationwide controversy. Officials at every level of government are walking on eggshells since the only bulletproof defense against a second containment shut down would be a vaccine or a cure, projected for some time next year – and the first 150 million doses will go to first responders worldwide – so don’t hold your breath. Click here for the executive orders and emergency declarations (updated regularly as issued) from the state, county and local government governing this eclectic excursion into the Twilight Zone.   

 



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Update and City Resources Available on COVID-19

City Commissioner Heather Moraitis provided the following update from the City of Fort Lauderdale on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We appreciate the leadership, time and effort Commissioner Moraitis has put into helping guide our city during this unique health crisis. She has been fabulous in her communications to residents and Facebook posts, keeping us as up to date as possible, given how quickly events are changing in the city, county, state and federal government. The City of Fort Lauderdale has numerous emergency regulations in place regarding operations and services, buildings and facilities, openings and closures, public meetings, events, public gatherings, and promoting social distancing in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the healthcare system is not overwhelmed. To see the latest updates on current regulations, please visit www.fortlauderdale.gov/coronavirus.

We also appreciate the leadership and commitment being made by County Commissioner Lamar Fisher and State Representative Chip LaMarca, both of whom have done an excellent job of communicating updated information to all of us.

Additional links to Centers for Disease Control, Department of Business and Professional Regulations, and Broward County Sheriff about actions on Coronavirus can be found on the Regency Tower website.





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Broward Commissioner Lamar Fisher’s March 2020 Newsletter

Commentary:  In his March 2020 Newsletter, District 4 Broward Commissioner Lamar Fisher opens by citing how County Administrator Bertha Henry echoed Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 Executive Orders 

with a Declaration of Emergency. Henry later tailored the Declaration to subsequent gubernatorial mandates with two extensions and 7 Emergency Orders.

Fisher applauds Port Everglades’ eligibility for $29.1 million in “New Start” funding allocated to the construction of a new Coast Guard Station. As State grants and port revenues fund the balance of almost $10 million, the Army Corps of Engineers will oversee widening the Intracoastal Waterway by 250 feet, enabling Port Everglades to access the economic windfall reaped by those few ports with clearance sufficient for huge Neo-Panamax cargo vessels.

 Six years after Broward County implemented a voter-mandated Consolidated Emergency Dispatch System on October 1, 2014, municipal firefighters still hit the brakes when they reach their City’s borders, even if the flames are in spitting distance.  Broward Emergency 911 officials finally launched the long-delayed county-wide “Closest Unit Response.” Beginning in March, Fisher reports that Sunrise, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Tamarac and Fort Lauderdale will integrate GPS with Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) to automatically locate and dispatch the closest properly equipped first responder, a protocol planned for every Broward municipality by the end of 2021.

After exhorting how failure to flesh out the upcoming 2020 Census count will cripple future State and/or Federal grants and subsidies while leaving Broward residents underrepresented in Congress, Fisher invites constituent input to help set priorities for the first Broward Parks and Recreation Division Master Plan.

Read on for Commissioner Lamar Fisher’s March 2020 Newsletter

 


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City Commissioner Heather Moraitis Feb/Mar 2020 Newsletter

Commentary: In her February – March 2020 Newsletter, District 1 City Commissioner Heather Moraitis opens by inviting constituents to attend the March 14 home opener of Major League Soccer (MLS), as David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF team was poised to confront the L.A. Galaxy (his former team) in the sports complex recently erected on the site that used to house Lockhart Stadium.

Taking a page from the NBA, the NHL the Miami Open and Major League Baseball, two days before the game, Major League Soccer postponed its season, placing the contest on hold. As the Coronavirus was still a cloudy enigma, a delighted Moraitis notes how events conspired to provide the City (and District 1 residents) with 2 new stadiums and an impressive laundry list of recreational amenities – courtesy of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise.

Moraitis also looks at the first 7 of 150 planned Infrastructure projects, sewer repairs and tips that may help the city dodge future blockages, how the Reiss Report redefined the City’s Comprehensive Utility Master Plan, the Corollo Report recommendations for the Fiveash Water Plant, LauderBriefs that update City Commission meetings, a pictorial summary of recent events and how to flag FPL about street light outages. Ironically, about one week after the Commissioner issued this Newsletter, COVID-19 took the planet hostage.

Read on for Commissioner Moraitis’ February – March 2020 message to constituents.  

 

 


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Broward County Issues Order Keeping Beaches Closed

Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry issued Emergency Order 20-09, effective Friday, May 8, stating that all beaches in Broward County will remain closed.  This Emergency Order shall expire upon the expiration of the existing State of Local Emergency. The county gave no potential date as to when the beaches may reopen.  This order applies to all public and private beaches in Broward County.

Click here to read Emergency Order 20-09 and subsequent materials.

Gov. DeSantis announced that he would like to see Broward and Miami-Dade “move into Phase 1 on May 18” Both Palm Beach and Miami-Dade officials have targeted May 18 for beach re-openings. Earlier, all three counties had agreed to align their re-opening plans to deter people from overrunning the county with fewer restrictions. DeSantis said he was hopeful those counties could move into Phase 1 reopening by May 18, provided the trends for new coronavirus cases are downward. Beachgoers will be limited to “activities consistent with social distancing and exercise,” meaning walking, swimming, biking, running, fishing and surfing, according to the emergency order.

Gov DeSantis indicated that May 18 could be an option for reopening Broward County beaches and possibly Phase 1 of the reopening plan.

Phase 1 reopening, according to state guidelines, means elective surgeries can recommence at hospitals, and restaurants will be allowed to open at 25% capacity. Bars and gyms will remain closed, but barber shops, hair salons and nail salons will be allowed to open.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis stated, “I recently asked the governor for permission to begin a phased reopening with continued safeguards for our health. He had specifically prohibited Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties from any substantial reopening despite allowing the rest of the state to move forward. However, he now has indicated that could change soon.  We have taken the limited steps to reopen some amenities that the governor and Broward County have allowed to this point. We have permitted passive recreation in our parks, opened golf courses, allowed multifamily associations to open their pools and expanded the operation of boat ramps and marinas.”

Trantalis concluded by saying, “I hope we can quickly continue to open more aspects of our society. Our economy has suffered with businesses shut down and unemployment rising. The status quo is simply not sustainable.”